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West of the Moon
Cover of West of the Moon
West of the Moon
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In West of the Moon, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Margi Preus expertly weaves original fiction with myth and folktale to tell the story of Astri, a young Norwegian girl desperate to join her father in America. After being separated from her sister and sold to a cruel goat farmer, Astri makes a daring escape. She quickly retrieves her little sister, and, armed with a troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and a possibly magic hairbrush, they set off for America. With a mysterious companion in tow and the malevolent "goatman" in pursuit, the girls head over the Norwegian mountains, through field and forest, and in and out of folktales and dreams as they steadily make their way east of the sun and west of the moon.

In West of the Moon, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Margi Preus expertly weaves original fiction with myth and folktale to tell the story of Astri, a young Norwegian girl desperate to join her father in America. After being separated from her sister and sold to a cruel goat farmer, Astri makes a daring escape. She quickly retrieves her little sister, and, armed with a troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and a possibly magic hairbrush, they set off for America. With a mysterious companion in tow and the malevolent "goatman" in pursuit, the girls head over the Norwegian mountains, through field and forest, and in and out of folktales and dreams as they steadily make their way east of the sun and west of the moon.

Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.2
  • Lexile:
    810
  • Interest Level:
    MG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
About the Author-
  • Margi Preus is the author of West of the Moon, Shadow on the Mountain, and Heart of a Samurai, which was a Newbery Honor book. She also writes for a variety of theater companies. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 24, 2014
    Inspired by a few lines from her immigrant great-great grandmother's diary, Newbery Honor author Preus (Heart of a Samurai) spins the sometimes harrowing tale of Astri, a 13-year-old Norwegian girl sold into hard labor by her greedy aunt. With a dead mother, a father in America, an imperiled younger sister, and the foreboding goat-keeper who has bought her, Astri is like a girl out of a fairy tale, and the native folktales that Preus weaves through the narrative serve as guides, lessons, and inspiration for her. Determined to escape her cruel master, rescue her sister, and join her father in America, she learns firsthand the sacrifices—financial, physical, and emotional—that immigrants face. Astri is fierce and brave enough to bargain with Death, and not always innocent; likewise, the villain is also an agent of salvation. In the reality these folktales frame, there are no easy or absolute categories. A threat of sexual violence and a grisly death might be hard on sensitive readers, but this immigrant's tale would ring false without them. Ages 10–14. Agent: Stephen Fraser, Jennifer De Chiara Agency.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from February 15, 2014
    Thirteen-year-old Astri is a goat girl, but she's no Heidi; she's a sharp, stone-hard girl who hasn't yet found the goodness inside herself. In fact, her life is as wretched as the darkest Norwegian fairy tale. Instead of being taken by White Bear King Valemon to his castle, Astri has been sold by her own aunt and uncle for "two silver coins and a haunch of goat" to a nasty old hunchbacked goatman named Svaalberd who lives in squalor. Folk tales from "The Twelve Wild Ducks" to "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" weave through Astri's often dryly humorous, suspenseful first-person account until one feels like the other...including her riotous escape from the violent man-troll and the rescue of her beloved little sister. The girls' odyssey over hill and dale, aided by a kind milkmaid and lonely widow, takes them all the way to an America-bound ship--the Columbus. Whether or not their father is still alive in America, the country beckons like the castle in the bear story that "lies east of the sun and west of the moon." Preus, who won a Newbery Honor for Heart of a Samurai (2010), was inspired by her Norwegian great-great-grandmother, who immigrated to America in 1851, as she explains in an author's note, even providing reproductions of some of her great-great-grandmother's papers. Norwegian history, fiction and folklore intertwine seamlessly in this lively, fantastical adventure and moving coming-of-age story. (glossary, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 11-14)

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from April 1, 2014

    Gr 5-8-Astri is 13 when she is sold by her aunt and uncle to a goat farmer named Svaalberd to serve as an unpaid laborer. Defiant but practical, she spends months with the brutal and superstitious Svaalberd, cooking, cleaning, and caring for the goats, before she escapes the farm with her fellow captive, the mysterious Spinning Girl. Astri fetches her younger sister, Greta, from her aunt and uncle's house, and hightails it with Svaalberd's "treasure" to the coast in order to sail to America. At its most basic, this is a tale about a girl escaping a poverty-stricken life in mid-19th century Norway. But from the beginning, the mystical and wondrous elements of Norwegian folktales are woven into the narrative, lending a timeless quality to a story inspired by the author's family history. The harsh realities of that time period, from rickets to tetanus, take on a strange, magical, and often terrifying aspect, as seen through Astri's naive eyes. She compares her servitude to Svaalberd with the story of White Bear King Valemon, who steals a young girl away, but really, Svaalberd is more like a troll to Astri. Folktales inspire the protagonist and allow her to imagine her own situation as a sort of legend-but in real life, actions have consequences. The decisions Astri makes to survive come to haunt her, and with her regret comes a new maturity, strength, and an ability to face her future in America. Enthralling and unflinching, this historical tale resonates with mythical undertones that will linger with readers after the final page is turned.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library

    Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from February 15, 2014
    Grades 6-8 *Starred Review* In the Scandinavian fairy tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon, a young girl is taken from her home to a magnificent castle by a great bear, whom she discovers is really a prince. Young Astri is not so luckywhen she is taken away from her aunt's home, it's by a hunchbacked goat herder, and she doesn't sleep in a magnificent castle, but in a cold, filthy cottage in the mountains. Still, she can't forget the stories and fairy tales that her mother told her before she diedstories that inform how she understands her plight. Perhaps the goat herder is a prince in disguise, and maybe he is hiding troll treasure. Clever, deeply feeling Astri knows what's real and what's not, but those stories have power, and they buoy her to do whatever it takes to escape the cruel goat herder; reunite with her sister, Greta; and depart for America, where they will finally be with their father again. Like dun silk shot through with gold, Preus (Heart of a Samurai, 2010) interweaves the mesmerizing tale of Astri's treacherous and harrowing mid-nineteenth-century immigration to America with bewitching tales of magic. A fascinating author's note only adds to the wonder.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

  • DOGO Books raindrop07 - West of the Moon by Margi Preus is a really good book that is sort of a play on the folktale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon." It is about two girls who try to run away from their evil goatman master. It's really amazing and I really liked reading it. "I want to do what's right. But how can I, when I am faced with only impossible choices?” ― Margi Preus, West of the Moon
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